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An Osa Peninsula cruise is the best ways to explore and discover one of Central America’s most remote destinations. Located on the southwestern edge of Costa Rica with the Pacific Ocean and the lovely Golfo Dulce on the other, the Osa Peninsula is covered in untouched rainforests and crystal clear waters, rich with an unrivaled variety of wildlife, and brimming with opportunities for adventure.
Cruises to Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula take visitors into one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, home to jewel-colored birds, venomous frogs, four species of monkey, and the country’s largest population of jaguars. From kayaking rivers bordered by mangrove forests and snorkeling tranquil bays, to trekking through jungle and horseback riding along beaches, visitors will find the perfect blend of adventure and leisure on a small ship cruise of the Osa Peninsula.
Top things to do and see in the Osa Peninsula
Visitors on a Costa Rica boat cruise can spot brightly-feathered birds while kayaking the still waters of Golfo Dulce and watch for monkeys and the elusive jaguar in Corcovado National Park, along with all or many of the activities listed below.
Corcovado National Park is a highlight of any Costa Rica adventure cruise and well established as one of the country’s prime attractions. The national park covers nearly half of the Osa Peninsula and home to tapir, big cats and the endangered giant anteater. In addition, Corcovado houses four species of monkey within its leafy confines: spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and howler monkeys. In Corcovado, visitors can search the canopy for the park’s many animal inhabitants, swim in limpid pools fed by cascading waterfalls, or enjoy an optional horseback ride along the beach.
The Golfo Dulce, or “Sweet Gulf”, is well named, given its tranquil bay and rivers lined with mangrove forests speckled with tropical flora, including palms, heliconias, bromeliads and orchids. Among the flowers hide equally beautiful birds, such as toucans, tanagers and parrots. Rainforest treks are a must, while the rivers snaking into the jungle are perfect for kayaking, swimming or paddleboarding. The bay is a prime spot for snorkeling
Wildlife is a top draw to the Osa Peninsula, known as one of the most biodiverse regions on earth. The Golfo Dulce is home to hummingbirds, toucans, parrots, egrets and caimans. Wildlife in Corcovado National Park include four species of monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths, anteaters, tapirs, jaguars, scarlet macaws, poison-dart frogs, tovi parakeets, king vultures and harpy eagles, while dolphins, killer whales and hammerhead sharks cruise the surrounding waters.
Top Tips for visiting the Osa Peninsula on a cruise
- Bring sunscreen and sunglasses as it gets hot and bright in Costa Rica, especially during the summer.
- Though many Costa Rica adventure cruises provide snorkeling gear, you may wish to bring your own to ensure proper fit and availability.
- Costa Rica boat cruises include a fair amount of trekking though occasionally rough terrain, so wear good hiking shoes.
- Bug repellant and long pants are recommended for jungle treks, especially during the green and wet season.
- Speaking of the wet season, it is a good idea to pack rain gear regardless of time of year. Given that it is situated in the tropics, Costa Rica can see rain throughout the year.
Best time to cruise the Osa Peninsula
It’s best to plan ahead as there is such a thing as a best time to take an Osa Peninsula cruise, which may affect both enjoyment and availability.
The Osa Peninsula in January to April is the dry season, with sunny weather and the least chance of rain, but it’s also the most popular and hence most expensive time to visit.
May to September on the Osa Peninsula is the so-called green season, during which prices are lower and availability greater, but visitors may have to contend with afternoon showers on most days.
October to December is the wet season, with October and November being the rainiest months, during which roads occasionally flood and many tourist facilities shut down.
Overall, April and May are the best months to visit Costa Rica as the crowds will be thinning and the rains remain infrequent.
The Osa Peninsula during Christmas and New Year’s is best avoided as rates skyrocket along with the crowds.
Where do Osa Peninsula cruises depart from?
Osa Peninsula cruises typically depart from Puerto Caldera, Herradura. Cruises departing from Herradura usually combine tours of Manuel Antonio with the Osa Peninsula.
Whether your Costa Rica cruise departs from Puerto Caldera or Herradura, you will first fly into San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. From San José, you will transfer to Puerto Caldera or Herradura.
San José is equipped with an international airport, Juan Santamaria International Airport, serviced by most major airlines.
Note that many Costa Rica small ship cruises that visit the Osa Peninsula are packaged as part of a larger Costa Rica to Panama cruise, meaning that the departure and ending points may differ. Please check your chosen itinerary for specific details.
Our reservations team can help you book your next cruise to Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. Contact us today.